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Sugar Ray Returning to Fort Lauderdale as a Comeback Contender

The music business is one arena where absence definitely does not make the heart grow fonder. So although the Orange County act Sugar Ray dominated the charts in the '90s — hits like "Fly," "Every Morning," "Someday," "Falls Apart," and "When It's Over" — still have serious brain-sticking power. Still, the guys have got their comeback work cut out for them in 2009.

A lot has changed in the five years since Sugar Ray's last album — a perfunctory greatest hits package — and the eight since their final studio entry, the eponymous Sugar Ray. Singer Mark McGrath elevated his profile with a full-time gig on Extra while the other band members — guitarist Rodney Sheppard, bassist Murphy Karges, Drummer Stan Frazier and DJ Craig "DJ Homicide" Bullock — either settled into domesticity or opted for other gigs.

"We had been going real strong for close to ten years, with the CD cycle every two years and the touring," Sheppard explains. "Around five or six years ago, the writing was on the wall, the music was changing, and bands like ours were becoming out of style. We were just grateful for the great run, and since some of us started to have children, it seemed a good time to step back for awhile. I think everyone had just gotten to the point where we needed a little rest. We still stayed together, but we just didn't write any original music."

But that hiatus has now come to a conclusion with the release of Music For Cougars, a new album packed with potential hits that bask in the band's sunny Southern California sound. "It was just good timing, " Sheppard says, of the band's re-entry intot the musical ring. "About a year ago we got offered a chance to make a CD, so we took it. We thought, what the heck, we'll see if we can do it again.'"

Even so, Sheppard says he and his bandmates have tempered their expectations. "We realize nobody's waiting by the music store to buy the new Sugar Ray CD," he admits. "We're not expecting big sales in this day and age. We have realistic goals. We'd like to hear a new song of ours on the radio and that's kind of all we're hoping for."

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Lee Zimmerman

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